18-year-old seminarian, kidnapped with three companions in January, was found dead a month later

Father Chris Omotosho, communications officer for the Diocese of Sokoto in northern Nigeria, has announced the arrest of the alleged killers of an 18-year-old seminarian who was kidnapped and murdered earlier this year.

However, in his April 24 statement the priest gave no information about the identities of the suspects.

Michael Nnadi, 18, was studying for the priesthood at the Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Kaduna, in north-central Nigeria, when he and three others (Pius Kanwai, 19, Peter Umenukor, 23, Stephen Amos, 23) were kidnapped on Jan. 8.

Kidnapping and murder

Heavily armed men dressed in military fatigues burst into the seminary, home to more than 265 students, and abducted the four.

The captors released one of the seminarians on Jan. 18. He was found injured on a roadside. They released two more in the following days.

Then on Feb. 1 the seminary rector was called to identify the body of Nnadi, whom authorities had found dead a few hours earlier.

The abduction of Catholic priests, religious and lay people has become a growing phenomenon in Nigeria in recent years. At least nine priests were kidnapped in 2019 in Enugu State, in the southeast of the country.

The communication directors of all of Nigeria’s 26 dioceses expressed concern in March 2019 for the safety of priests and religious.

In a resolution issued at the end of their March 25-29 plenary assembly, they said they were « troubled » and « outraged » at « the increase in the number of abductions, and in some cases killings, of priests and religious » in Nigeria.

Lucie Sarr (Traduction La Croix Africa)